Alumni Spotlight: Anja Meironke

"Topics such as artificial intelligence, process automation and digitization are extremely dynamic"

Anja Meironke was a valuable member of the Fraunhofer IMW team for a total of 6 years. In the following interview she recalls on her time fondly whilst also acknowledging the Fraunhofer IMW environment as being conducive to her development in the world of science. Currently Anja is completing her doctorate at Volkswagen where she is focused on the topics of Robotic Process Automation, Artificial Intelligence in HR work, and AI ethics.

Where do you work now?

At Volkswagen in Wolfsburg in the “HR Strategy and Innovation department”.

What is your current position title?

PhD Student

When did you work/intern at Fraunhofer IMW?

From 2014-2020

What division/unit did you work in?

In the Organizational Development and Quality Management Unit.

Where did you study and what degrees did you achieve/are you working towards?

Elementary school teaching state exams at the FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg

·        Bachelor of Science in Economics and Political Science from the MLU in Halle-Wittenberg

·        Master of Science in Business Informatics at the MLU in Halle-Wittenberg

·        Currently a doctoral student in Business Informatics at the MLU in Halle-Wittenberg

What did you find particularly interesting about your work at Fraunhofer IMW? What did it teach you and how did it prepare you to pursue and maintain the position you now hold?

Above all, my team taught me how to contribute my own ideas and suggestions and how important it is to have a humorous attitude while working in a group. Independent work and problem solving was also an important component for me. As part of the doctoral colloquium, I received many tips on how best to organize my doctorate and put the skills I learned to use.

What are you currently working on and what do you really enjoy about this job?

I am currently dealing mainly with the topics of Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence (AI) in HR work, and AI ethics. Together with my colleagues, I am investigating how processes can be optimally designed using RPA and AI, while simultaneously addressing ethical consideration - from my point of view, these topics are very diverse and therefore exciting.

Did you ever expect to end up in your current position while you were at Fraunhofer IMW?

In a way, yes.

In the classic Fraunhofer model, scientific positions in particular are designed to be limited in time, and later a transfer to business usually takes place.

In addition, apart from quality management, I wanted to develop myself in other subject areas that deal with the digitization and automation of processes and the use of artificial intelligence.

What was your most memorable moment as a team member of Fraunhofer IMW?

At a Christmas party, a former colleague wrote a song about Fraunhofer IMW and accompanied it with a guitar. It was very funny and we laughed a lot. It definitely got stuck in my head.

What is your lasting impression of Fraunhofer IMW?

Working in science is associated with a high degree of freedom in designing your own work. At the same time, however, there is also a certain pressure resulting from the rapid development of innovative and comprehensive solutions, which sometimes takes time.

What future goals are you working towards?

First and foremost, of course, I would like to successfully complete my doctoral project and develop a deep understanding in the above-mentioned subject areas, which I can put into practice in a profitable way. The goal is already to make processes more efficient from the organizational perspective and thus to support my colleagues in their work as best as possible.

How do you see the field you are working in changing in the future?

Topics such as artificial intelligence, process automation and digitization are extremely dynamic. Concepts, approaches and corresponding methods in the field of IT are developing at high speed, sometimes to the extent that they quickly become obsolete. This makes it challenging to familiarize oneself with these new areas at continuously shortening intervals in order to always be up to date and to be able to put the latest findings into practice.

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